Politics

Reps Hold Special Session Monday to Pass 2021 Budget into Law


A special sitting of the House of Representatives is billed to hold today, Monday, barring any eventuality, to pass the 2021 Appropriation bill into law.

Ordinarily, Mondays are not usually plenary/legislative days for the National Assembly except for matters of extreme public importance and urgency.

 The Appropriation Bill 2021, otherwise called the 2021 budget was laid before a joint session of the Senate and the House on October 8, this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The envelope size of the proposal was N13.08 trillion.

The details showed that crude oil which is the mainstay of the nation’s economy is projected at $40bpd. Similarly, the exchange rate of Naira to the dollar was officially placed at N379 to $1. Gross Domestic Product, GDP is also expected to grow at three per cent while the inflation rate is placed at 11.95 per cent.

 It will be recalled that the two chambers of the national assembly suspended plenary for more than one month to attend to the proposal. Throughout the period, various standing committees of the Senate and the House engaged with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of government who defended their financial estimates.

The acceleration given to the defence was ultimately to meet up with the January to December budget cycle which the country reverted to in 2019. But the experiment has however suffered some set back as the national assembly last week upon the request of the executive arm expressly passed a law to extend the timeline for the implementation of capital projects in the 2020 budget.

Titled ”Bill for an Act to Amend the Appropriation Act, 2020 to Extend the Expiration Period of Capital Expenditure in the Act beyond 31 December, 2020; and for Related Matters (HB.1194), the development has apparently altered the January to December budget cycle and shifted the implementation of the budget to now elapse March 31, 2021.

 Contacted to confirm the special session on Monday, Hon. Bede Eke, member representing Aboh Mbaise Ngor/Okpala federal constituency of Imo State simply said “yes”, stressing that the sitting will hold.

Similarly, the Spokesman of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu also told Vanguard that the House was exclusively going to sit to approve the budget and then adjourn plenary for the Christmas holidays. “Yes to the best of my knowledge. We are reconvening just pass the budget and adjourn for the Christmas holidays”, he said.

With the passage of the Finance Bill 2020 last week and the expectations that the Appropriation Bill will also pass today, it is everybody’s hope that the government would embark on early and immediate implementation of the budget to help lift the economy out of the present recession.

Vanguard

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